Happiest Hour: Wildwood's Mystical Stout 

When you're done raking snow-covered leaves this weekend, crack open one of these.

What you’re drinking: Wildwood Brewery’s Mystical Stout, but you’re not bellied up at its new taproom in Stevensville. Instead, you’re bundled up at home, drinking an excellent chilly weather beer—an Irish-style dry stout—in a can.

That’s a slick can: Yes it is, because Wildwood, Montana’s only all-organic brewery, uses shrink-sleeve labels that adhere to the can when passed through a steam tunnel (check out photos of the process here). Compared to printing directly on aluminum, the plastic labels allow for much more vibrant colors. The Mystical Stout label features loggers chopping down morel mushrooms. Wildwood brewer Jim Lueders says this represents what will soon be part of an on-site, closed-loop integrated system of brewing and farming. “It’s a perfect marriage growing mushrooms on the spent grain of a brewery,” he says.

Just the stout? Nope. Wildwood also just started canning its Bodacious Bock and Ambitious Pale Lager. Montanans, Lueders says, “are really interested in beer in cans because they want to take the beer on trips—rafting trips or pack trips, maybe into the backcountry.” And when you get back, they’re recyclable.

Where to find ’em: In Missoula, Wildwood’s canned brews are sold at the Good Food Store, Worden’s, Rattlesnake Gardens and the Missoula Community Food Co-op. Expect other outlets soon.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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